nineveh_uk (nineveh_uk) wrote,

On looking at Tolkien's illustrations

I meant to accompany this post with a photograph of a large painting that I did aged 12 of a crimson sunset over towering mountains. Alas, though it must be in this house somewhere I cannot at this moment lay my hands on it* so you will have to take my word for it that from the age for about 11 until GCSE Art at 16 an awful lot of what I drew and painted had a Middle Earth-y landscape element to it, albeit of the kind drawn by younger teenager who liked dramatic scenery and Caspar David Friedrich.**

Living in Oxford I ought really to have made it to the Bodleian's Tolkien exhibition before the final afternoon, but made it I did in the end. The most interesting elements to me were the illustrations for The Hobbit, which seeing in their original watercolours did make me think were as good as anything I've seen by professional children's book illustrators of the day, and possess a distinct style that really works even if Tolkien did copy the eagle straight out of a reference book. I was also rather charmed by his drawing the Middle Earth maps on squared paper to make sure that the scale was right.

But mostly it reminded me of why re-watching the LotR films last week had me thinking, 'I must re-read the books because I want to draw the scenery.'

Oh yes, and there was a letter from Arthur Ransome describing himself as a 'humble hobbit-fancier' that made me think I must re-read the Very Secret Diaries.

*Or am not prepared to take apart the picture frame I think it is probably lurking in.

**I still do.

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Tags: tolkien
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